The Via Ferrata, what is it? For those of you that have yet to hear of it, it is an extreme version of ziplining, or at least that it is great way to describe it to beginners.
It is still a pretty new phenomenon here in the United States, due in part to the United States government-imposed bans that outlawed permanent climbing anchors due to the Wilderness Act of 1964. Although this made a lot of red tape for many places, via ferrata is blowing up in some of the most beautiful places in the United States.
The First Via Verrata
The first one was used in WWI in the Dolomites to help soldiers’ traverse across tough mountain terrain, but since then Via Ferrata has become a recreational phenomonon across Europe. Now that I have you intrigued, let’s talk about the newest Via Ferrata to come to Colorado, the Buena Vista Via Ferrata Course.
This custom course built into the topography of the mountainside also offers once in a lifetime views and challenges that will challenge you physically and mentally.
The best way to understand via ferrata is by taking a step by step journey of what you experience would look like.
Step 1: Gearing up and Getting Instructions
Your highly qualified guides will meet when you arrive, and you will get all your gear and start your journey up the mountain for your new adventure. This short hike will get your blood flowing and give you a chance to take in some of the instructions.
Once you have completed your hike, you will begin “ground school” to learn about all of your equipment, guidelines and expectations. There you will adjust your harness if needed and of course get instructions on using the pulleys. Now that everyone knows how use the pulleys and is comfortable with doing so, you will jump into some action.
Step 2: Hit the Ziplines
You will start with two ziplines before you hit the via ferrata.
Step 3: Test out your “Claw” Carabiners
You will then hit another ground school, which will now give you instructions on the via ferrata steps to come.
You will learn about clipping in as you will always be clipped in with a least one carabiner throughout your entire climb. So, you’ve gotten your second safety lesson now you are ready for the via ferrata.
Step 3: The Climb
First you will climb up on some iron rungs and ladders and then traverse across more mountain and then climb back down. It seems backwards, but trust that it is going to be a blast.
After traversing there will be a gap and quick jump back to the via ferrata with more traversing up and down with more rungs and ladders crossing the face of the mountain.
Step 4: The Free Fall
Speaking of the quick jump, this is truly the highlight of the trip as you take in the vast snowcapped mountain views. Once you are on the quick jump bridge, enjoy the view one more time until you descend almost 70 feet down the mountain side.
Don’t worry you’ll be in good hands as your momentum will be caught before you land, and you will be mental strong for the rest of your Via Ferrata adventure.
Step 5: Fly High with the Final 2 Zips
You will then reach the final two ziplines before the completion of the course.
The best thing about the Via Ferrata is you get the adrenaline rush of the course itself, and a nice taste of our ziplines as well. As you float down our ziplines you will feel the mountain air breezing by as you descend toward your initial hike.
Overall you can’t beat this once in a lifetime opportunity to challenge all your senses, (and have a great story to tell your buddies!) After this mountain adventure you will surely be able to consider yourself a true Rocky Mountain Daredevil!
Check out this video for a more detail look at the Via Ferrata.
Good luck and don’t look down! AVA also offers a Via Ferrata in Idaho Springs, so those of you that are closer to the Denver area be sure to check it out also be sure to visit www.mountainshuttle.com and then why not make a day of it now and add a rafting trip to make a whole day of it.